See Hershel Shanks’s review of Discoveries in the Judaean Desert Vol. XXI, Qumran Cave 4—XVI, Calendrical Texts, Shemaryahu Talmon, Jonathan Ben-Dov and Uwe Glessmer, eds., in ReViews, BAR 28:06.


See James C. VanderKam, “Jubilees: How It Rewrote the Bible,” BR 08:06.



Volume 2 will include the Parables of Enoch (chapters 37–71) by George Nickelsburg and the Astronomical Book (chapters 72–82) by James VanderKam.


The only other Hermeneia commentary on a pseudepigraphic book to date is Michael Stone, Fourth Ezra: A Commentary on the Book of Fourth Ezra (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990). Others are planned.


Jozef T. Milik, ed., The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of QumraÆn Cave 4 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), p. 273.


Translations of 1 Enoch are from Michael A. Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch: A New Edition in the Light of the Aramaic Dead Sea Fragments, volume 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978).


See Gabriele Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998).


There is ample reason for believing that the biblical and pseudepigraphic Enoch is a reflection of Mesopotamian traditions about the seventh antediluvian king Enmeduranki of Sippar, a king who was associated with the sun god and with divination. Enoch, the seventh pre-Flood patriarch, taught a solar calendar and received revelations about the future through mantic means such as symbolic dreams. See my Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition, Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 16 (Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1984).


Matthew Black, The Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch, Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigrapha 7 (Leiden: Brill, 1985).


Regarding the inclusion of 1 Enoch 81:1–82:4 in the current volume: There is evidence for editorial adjustments at the joints where the Enoch booklets were placed one after the other, and according to Nickelsburg’s theory chapters 81:1–82:4 form just such a passage. He believes the unit connects well thematically with the Book of the Watchers and also with the following booklets. This can be disputed for technical reasons, but one general problem with the theory, besides having no manuscript warrant, is that 81:1–82:4 would be lodged in a strange place for an editorial link, since the last part of the Astronomical Book (82:5–20) follows rather than precedes the supposed bridge verses.


Jozef T. Milik, who identified and first published many of the Qumran fragments of Enoch from Qumran Cave 4, thought that copy c (4Q204) contained parts of chapters 1–6, 10, 13–15, 18, 31–32, 35–36 (all from the Book of the Watchers) and also bits and pieces of chapters 89 (from the Book of Dreams) and 104–107 (from the Epistle of Enoch). He also thought the Book of Giants was copied on this manuscript. Hence, by the years 30–1 B.C.E. (the date of the handwriting), these books were gathered on a single manuscript. Copy d (4Q205; from approximately the same date as copy c) preserves parts of the Book of the Watchers (22, 25–27) and the Book of Dreams (89), and copy e (4Q206) offers sections of the Book of the Watchers (20–22, 28–29, 31–34) and of the Book of Dreams (88–89), with a fragment from the Book of Giants. This manuscript was copied in ca. 100–50 B.C.E. (See Milik, The Books of Enoch, pp. 5, 178–79, 217, 225.)

We also have reason to believe that the Astronomical Book, although it may be the most ancient Enoch book, at first was not copied on the same scroll with the other Enoch booklets. It was so long in its Aramaic form that it alone would have occupied a full scroll. No parts of it are attested on any Qumran manuscript that contains text from another Enoch booklet. In addition, it has long been recognized that the Book of Parables (37–71), which calls itself a second vision, differs from the other booklets. No copy of it has been identified among the thousands of fragments in the Qumran caves. It is reasonable to think that it had its own history, while its relatively late date of composition makes it unlikely that it would have appeared on the Qumran copies. So, we can bracket chapters 37–71 and 72–82 as Enoch works that were not associated with the others in the sense of being copied on the same manuscript.


A related issue is the possible presence of the Book of Giants on the same manuscripts as some of the Enoch booklets. Milik had argued that in an earlier form of the collection, the Book of Giants occupied the place now taken by the Book of Parables; it was replaced by the Book of Parables in Christian times. (Milik [The Books of Enoch, pp. 57–58, 89–98, 298–339] thought the Book of Parables was a Christian composition.) Nickelsburg has little to say about this issue, but if the Book of Giants did appear on manuscripts 4Q204 and 4Q206, Milik has a strong case that it was considered part of an Enochic collection at Qumran. And if so, the commentary should have included it.